Hi ghouls! 👋🏻 Earlier this year I made a post talking about genres that I can’t get into and I wanted to revisit that topic, but with horror subgenres instead.
Even though horror is my favourite genre now, there are still areas of the genre that just don’t gel with me for one reason for another, and that is totally fine. We all have aspects of our favourite genres that we don’t like and we don’t have to force ourselves to sit through every single thing that is a part of the genre just be considered a fan. I don’t tolerate gatekeeping here because if you enjoy a genre, you are a fan of it no matter how many books you’ve read, movies you’ve watched, or events you’ve attended.
I think it should be pretty obvious why I don’t enjoy this subgenre. There are two key features to a rape-revenge story:
- someone (usually a young woman) is sexually assaulted in graphic detail
- the victim or a friend/relative of the victim gets revenge, also in graphic detail.
It’s a simple formula and some women think it’s an empowering genre, but I personally don’t feel empowered when I see a woman be raped and tortured in a graphic scene and then see her father or another male relative get revenge for her. I don’t feel empowered when the victim is the one who gets revenge either. I can’t stop people from enjoying this genre but I do think that it’s a tricky one because there will always be people out there who think that this genre is sexually arousing. That’s not the genre’s fault and it’s never a piece of fiction’s fault for real people carrying out copycat crimes.
My dislike for found footage movies is definitely an “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of thing because I get really bad motion sickness from these movies. That’s a huge shame to me because there are so many found footage movies out there with interesting stories and great scares, but my brain just will not let me watch them. I had to watch Cloverfield in two parts and with my head between my knees for most of the run time because of how jerky the camera movements are and that sucked because I love movies about giant monsters.
Thankfully, I don’t have this problem with books and if a book ever gave me motion sickness my life would be over.
DEMONIC POSSESSION & EXORCISMS
I don’t like to make assumptions about groups of people, but I think this subgenre resonates a lot more with people who are Catholic or were raised Catholic and have since drifted away from that church. I was a non-denominational Christian when I was a teenager and went to a Methodist Sunday school as a child so talk of exorcisms and demons were just a fantasy to me. Protestantism and non-denominational Christianity doesn’t really lend itself to supernatural horror because so much focus is put on an individual’s relationship with Jesus and spreading gospel rather than trying to avoid being condemned to Hell for all eternity.
That being said, a lot of stories about demonic possession and exorcisms are overwhelmingly Catholic and since I have no ties to Catholicism (apart from one Catholic funeral I went to that wasn’t full mass) I don’t find them scary.
Ero guro can be a difficult genre to define because it’s not exactly a horror subgenre but an artistic movement that originated in Japan. Ero is short for erotic and guro is short for grotesque but ero guro isn’t always pornographic and guro doesn’t mean gore.
I don’t consider myself to be a prude and I don’t have a problem with sexual things outside of pornography, but there’s something about eroticised horror that makes me feel grimy. This isn’t the right place for me to talk about things of a sexual nature since this is an all-ages blog, but I’m a very vanilla person and sexual things that cross the border into taboo make me feel a little sick, especially when the sexual aspect is violently non-consensual.
My hesitancy with this subgenre may be a little confusing since I love vampires so much, but there is a difference between drinking blood and someone being sexually assaulted by alien tentacles.
Giallo is another genre that is unique to a particular country, this time being from Italy. Giallo is the Italian word for yellow and comes from the covers of pulp mystery and thriller novels that had yellow covers. Giallo in film often refers to horror stories that have a murder mystery plot, a killer who wears black gloves, sexual themes, and a lot of blood. I would place a GIF from the movie Tenebrae here as an example, but it is way too graphic for me to do so.
I don’t have an issue with gore anymore, and I really appreciate that Italian horror from the 1970s and 80s went so over the top with the gore when American filmmakers weren’t able to, but Italian horror just doesn’t really gel with my tastes. Italian horror movies from the 70s and 80s were released in English, but all of the actors who didn’t speak English or were ESL were dubbed over, sometimes poorly. I can’t deal with dubbing in live-action because my brain can’t comprehend that the actors will be saying one thing but their lip movements don’t match.
Like ero guro, there is often a big sexual aspect to Giallo and that can pose a problem for me. Horror is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable, but I like there to be a variety of things that make me feel uncomfortable. When I watch a sexual assault scene for the fifth time in October, I start to get a little tired of seeing it.
I may lose some horror cred points for this but those aren’t real and I don’t care what other people think that much. I only really started exploring the zombie subgenre in recent years because I can handle gore a lot more than I could before, but zombies just don’t really interest me that much. A big problem I have with the zombie stories I’ve read and watched is that if they’re not splatter fests without much meaning they’re hitting you over the head with the moral. Yes, George A. Romero, consumerism has turned us into zombies, I get it. I do enjoy Romero’s original Dead trilogy because they’re well-made movies with amazing special effects and I honestly prefer them to the Italian pseudo sequels I’ve seen which amp up the gore but have worse stories and worse acting. I’m still on the hunt for the zombie story that will turn me into a zombie fan but that has yet to happen since there hasn’t been much variation in the actual zombies themselves. They’re just dead people and that doesn’t interest me much.
talk to me!
Are there any subgenres that don’t do anything for you? What is it about them you don’t like?